• “They understand what is driving business results. Our relationship with them has been a total win-win!”
  • “Lear & Pannepacker, LLP is just the best company I have ever hired!  Never have I experienced any professional services firm “learn” my business more quickly and effectively.”
  • “I am convinced if Eric Lear was aboard the Titanic, the ship would have missed the iceberg completely and would have made it to port.”
  • “They provide peace of mind by competently handling your finances, allowing you to concentrate on expanding your business; it’s a perfect partnership.”
  • “Eric, Scot and all of the employees of Lear & Pannepacker, LLP have always provided excellent accounting services in a prompt and professional manner.”
  • “Lear & Pannepacker, LLP has been our auditor for over ten years. The first year they performed our audit they offered suggestions on how to improve our internal controls that were easily implemented. Unlike many, I rather look forward to our annual audit.”
  • “We have worked with other auditors, but have not found another firm to be nearly as professional, reliable, and trustworthy as Lear & Pannepacker, LLP!”
  • “Our extended family has used Lear and Pannepacker for accounting and tax services for about two decades. They have always been responsive, helpful, thoughtful and fun to work with.”
  • “As our company has grown, Lear & Pannepacker, LLP has helped us to improve our financial and accounting systems and reporting. Hiring L&P has been a great investment for us!”
  • “The entire firm, from the partners to the staff accountants to the administrative personnel, works as a team and go out of their way to help.”
  • “Our account manager, Steve, exemplifies the hard work, reliability, efficiency, and integrity that are the hallmarks of this firm.”
  • “Lear & Pannepacker, LLP has performed numerous business valuations for us, and I have come to depend on them for complete, accurate and timely results. I would recommend them without hesitation!”
  • “I am delighted to say that Lear & Pannepacker, LLP was initially retained pro-bono, as they had gifted us their accounting services to get us started as a non-profit. The service we received was stellar: prompt turnaround, accurate work, forward-thinking!”
  • “I have worked one-on-one with L&P’s team of professionals and together we have been very successful in meeting our mutual clients’ needs and goals. I trust the firm implicitly!”
  • “We have been clients of Lear & Pannepacker, LLP since 1984, and this accounting firm has been a great liaison, dealing with all levels of the tax code, various auditors, and related matters.”
  • “When you’re looking for accountants who not only know their jobs but really care and are genuinely trying to help, they are the people to go to!”
  • “Lear & Pannepacker, LLP is a perfect match for new high tech start-up businesses because they understand the special needs of small companies.”
  • “Lear and Pannepacker, LLP is one of the most competent, responsive, and professional firms in New Jersey!”
  • “L&P truly have their client’s best interests at heart and are 100% invested in their clients’ success. We consider them part of our “family” for the last twenty eight years!”

FAQs

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive as tax professionals. If you do not find the answer to your question here, just give us a call.

Q. What services does Lear & Pannepacker, LLP offer?

A. Lear & Pannepacker, LLP is a full service accounting firm that can assist individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations with a variety of tax planning, tax preparation, administrative, and other services.

Q. Do Lear & Pannepacker, LLP’s services include the preparation of individual income tax returns?

A. Yes. Our Princeton CPA firm prepares tax returns and other filings for individuals as well as businesses.

Q. Should my business be a “C” corporation, a “S” corporation or a limited liability company (LLC)?

A. The correct decision will depend upon your specific needs and circumstances. In general, most small businesses elect to be either a “S” corporation or LLC in order to take advantage of the pass-through of income and losses to the owner. The LLC has become popular as it has most of the advantages of the “S” corporation with added flexibility in ownership, distributions and structure. We recommend you summarize your business needs and objectives so our team of accounting experts can evaluate the costs and benefits associated with each choice and ensure the best long-term decision for your business. Contact us to learn more about properly classifying your business and to set up a meeting to review your business planning objectives.

Q. What are the differences between an employee and an independent contractor?

A. The federal and state tax authorities determine whether an individual is subject to employment taxes on a case by case basis. In general, an independent contractor is someone hired by you who is not engaged in the same business as you, does not work exclusively for you, and is not under your control or supervision. They should bill you regularly in a professional manner; have business cards, maintain a business address, telephone number or web address; be registered and pay taxes with the state they operate in; and otherwise conduct their business in a manner consistent with a legitimate, self-employed individual. If there is any doubt as to these facts, the tax authorities are likely to reclassify these persons as employees and assess tax for unreported payroll. Contact us to learn more about employee/ contractor classification and how to properly navigate the relevant tax laws.

Q. What constitutes “doing business” in another state for reporting purposes? Do I have to file an additional state return?

A. Each state defines “nexus” – multistate business operations – differently based upon its laws. However, states have a goal to collect as much revenue as possible, so they often interpret interstate commerce laws liberally to capture business activity. If you send sales persons into a state for purposes of soliciting business, you may have to file franchise or similar taxes. If you or your employees have a physical presence in a state, however briefly, you may become subject to income taxes. Taxpayers should consider filing these returns for general compliance, but also to trigger the statute of limitations and permit offsetting credits on primary state tax returns. Contact us to learn more about nexus.

Q. How long am I required to keep records to support my tax deductions?

A. The IRS generally requires that you maintain tax return records for three years from the filing date. Payroll and related tax filings have a four year requirement, and certain other deductions should be kept as long as seven years. We recommend you maintain complete records, including all pertinent supporting documents, for a minimum of five years (plus the current year) as the IRS may extend the statute of limitations due to late payment or disputed non-receipt of filed returns. Furthermore, we recommend you maintain certain primary tax records, including copies of all tax returns and a computerized accounting general ledger for a minimum of an additional five years. You should also note that certain assets that are carried forward to future years, such as fixed assets and marketable securities, should be kept until five years after the date sold or disposed. Please see our retention policy or contact us to learn more about your specific record keeping needs.

Q. Should I buy or lease my business automobile or other equipment?

A. Generally, it does not make a difference for tax or financial reporting purposes. There are rules regarding the capitalization of leases that requires businesses to report the lease as if it were a purchase, with depreciation and interest. We recommend you evaluate the terms of each alternative and make a decision based upon the best financial option. Contact us for more information.

Q. Does it make good financial planning sense to pay off my mortgage early?

A. Many people are surprised that the answer is often “no.” Mortgage debt is good debt in that it matches a long-term appreciating asset with a long-term debt. Furthermore, it is tax deductible and usually at a lower interest rate than other types of debt. It often makes more sense to maximize 401(k) and pension alternatives and pay your mortgage on time. Contact us for a personalized financial planning consultation.

Q. When does it make sense to withdraw my retirement funds early to: a) pay down credit card and other debt; b) start a new business; c) use the funds for any other non-retirement reason?

A. Except during extraordinary circumstances, never. The combination of federal and state income taxes, plus the 10% early withdrawal penalty, usually cost significantly more in the long run than most people anticipate. Whenever possible, alternative sources of funds (budgeting, credit card management programs, loans, pension loans, etc.) should be used first. The IRS does provide relief from penalties for specific needs, including first time homebuyer and medical reasons. Contact us for personalized savings guidance.

Q. How do you charge for your services?

A. Typically, Lear & Pannepacker, LLP’s fees are based on hourly rates that vary depending on the experience and capacity of the professional performing the service. We provide an initial one-hour consultation at no charge so that our team can fully understand your needs. We outline the anticipated costs in an engagement letter to clients so there are no surprises.

Q. What are your normal payment terms?

A. We invoice on a monthly basis with payments due upon receipt. Balances over 30 days past due are subject to interest charges of one and one half percent per month.